This Is Us is headed to Super Bowl Sunday, but don’t expect a post-game party. NBC has released the first photos from the show’s highly-publicized post-Super Bowl episode, and the smiles are few and far between. In fact, the adult Pearson clan members all look pretty glum as they go through the motions on what was Jack Pearson’s favorite day of the year—and possible death day.
This Is Us fans have been waiting for this episode. The promo shows Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) in hero mode as he tries to save his family from a house fire, and a voiceover promises, “All of your questions will be answered.”
Indeed, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman confirms the promo promise, telling Hollywood Reporter the episode will answer all of fans’ burning questions.
“The big question is everything involving and surrounding Jack’s death,” the This Is Us showrunner told THR.
“How did he die? When did he die? What was the cause of his death? How did it relate to Kate? Anything involving Jack’s death, you get those answers in this episode.”
But photos for the highly anticipated This Is Us episode appear to tell a different story. NBC has released 17 new photos from the This Is Us Super Bowl episode, and none of them are from flashback or fire scenes. Instead, the production stills all focus on the adult Big Three and how they are spending Super Bowl Sunday in the present day.
Based on the photos, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is hosting a Super Bowl party at his home. In the promo for the next This Is Us episode, Randall pays tribute to his football-fanatic dad by announcing, “This is my dad’s favorite day, so I celebrate him.”
Other photos feature a reflective Kevin (Justin Hartley) looking glum as he presumably watches the Super Bowl. As a teen, the “Number One” Pearson son thought he would someday be playing in the Super Bowl, not just watching it, so this day is especially hard for him. Another shot shows Kevin meditating at his mom’s house.
There is also a photo that shows Kate (Chrissy Metz) tuning into the big game—or something. With no urn of Jack’s ashes in sight, it’s doubtful she’s watching the Super Bowl, but there is a stack of VHS videotapes on the coffee table in front of her.
Dan Fogelman has already teased that the opening scene of the This Is Us Super Bowl episode will pick up in the past with the Pearson family house fire in January 1998.
“I will say that the opening five to 10 minutes of the episode — we spent a fortune, we went into the middle of nowhere so nobody would see us, and we built our house,” the This Is Us creator told Entertainment Weekly. “We brought in the people who had done Backdraft, and for you, as an audience member, it’s very hard to breathe. It’s extraordinary.”
“I suspect the way it starts, the opening six minutes of it, it’s going to be hard for people to turn it off,” Fogelman told THR of the post-Super Bowl episode.
But based on the photos, the bulk of the episode will focus on how the adult Big Three are spending game day in 2018, 20 years after their family home was gutted in a raging fire on Jack Pearson’s favorite day.
If you need a five-minute catch up before the Super Bowl episode, this is where This Is Us left us.
Here is the promo for the upcoming This Is Us Super Bowl episode.
The next episode of This Is Us will air immediately after the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 4 on NBC.